The China StarAs unveiled last week by Cruise Industry News, China Cruise Company will launch service this year with the China Star, the ex-Radisson Diamond and most recently the Asia Star gambling ship

The company has further confirmed it wants to purchase an additional two to three ships in the next two years, and bigger ships, in the 1,500-passenger range.

Built in 1992, the 20,000-ton China Star has 172 staterooms and was built at a cost of $250 million by Wartsila (now STX Finland) for Radisson Diamond Cruises.

China Star will homeport in Zhoushan, in Zhejiang Province, and plans call for voyages to Kaohsiung and Keelung, both in Taiwan.

The ship will leave the Hong Kong Harbor on Thursday March 8.

Since purchasing the ship for a reported $45 million last summer from a casino company, China Cruise Company has spent some $20 million on the vessel, including adding balconies to cabins.